Steamed Fish in Lemon Sauce , ปลากระพงนึ่งมะนาว = Pla Krapong Neung Manao
The Sea bass, a popular, high quality fish, is included in the Thai title of the dish. It is served in a lemon-flavored soup, which is both sour and very spicy, with a lot of chili, garlic and herbs.
I haven’t had the chance to try the dish in tourist restaurants, but only in authentic places where the soup is pungent!! I’d even grade it the second most pungent dish in the Thai kitchen, following the Tom Sap soup. I would grade the Tom Yum soup as third (in authentic restaurants). So, if you are not accustomed to eating such spicy dishes – you are better off with the steamed fish in soy sauce, which is hardly spicy.
Let us get back to the steamed fish in lemon sauce, which is usually served in a fish-shaped plate/kitchenware, and underneath there’s burning fire, so that the soup is steaming hot and the dish maintains its warmth throughout. In addition to the soup that accompanies the fish, it is accustomed to serve an additional bowl of soup, so that the diner can add more soup to the fish, if he wishes to do so.
Here I should probably mention that the dishes in Thailand are not personal, but rather served to the center of the table and shared among diners. Additionally, the soup accompanies the entire meal and is not considered as a separate dish.
The photo was taken at Rabiang Tale restaurant (which means terrace on the beach) by Bangkok shore, rather close to Muang Boran (the old city). For those interested – in this link, you will find further information on the dish.